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Marriage Equality Arrives in Arizona: PHOTOS

Arizona

With a federal judge striking down Arizona's gay marriage ban today and Attorney General Tom Horne announcing he would not be appealing the decision, marriage equality has offically arrived in the Grand Canyon State. 

Pictured below are Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey, two of the plaintiffs in the state's gay marriage case. 

Two more photos, AFTER THE JUMP...

Also, this:

[top photo via Twitter]

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Arizona AG Pushes Back Against Marriage Equality But Concedes Ban is Unconstitutional: VIDEO

Arizona's Attorney General Tom Horne appears to have conceded that marriage equality is coming to Arizona, but he is pushing back as much as possible before that happens, Arizona Central reports:

HorneIn legal documents filed Thursday, Republican Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne wrote that he believes a recent appeals-court ruling striking down similar marriage bans in other states applies to Arizona. But he asked U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick to wait to overturn the law until the appeals court issues its legal mandate.

The Arizona Daily Star adds:

What Horne is arguing to U.S. District Judge John Sedwick is that the appellate court issued, but then withdrew, its “mandate” to Nevada and Idaho to start issuing marriage licenses.

While both states have, in fact, started allowing gays to wed, Horne told Sedwick he cannot legally rely on the 9th Circuit ruling to void the Arizona law — at least not yet, calling any effort to void Arizona’s laws based on the 9th Circuit ruling “a gamble.”

[Lambda Legal attorney Jennifer] Pizer, however, said Horne and his staff have not identified a single issue that would make Arizona’s ban on gay marriage legally different than the ones already overturned.

“And yet these lawyers working for Tom Horne are blocking the door to prevent this particular group of people from being able to enter the room where everybody else lives,” Pizer said. “It’s hardly an honorable position for the state.”

Horne referred all calls to Rob Ellman, the state’s solicitor general, who works for him. Ellman would not comment.

Watch a report from 3TV, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Lambda Legal Asks Federal Judge to Immediately Strike Down Arizona's Gay Marriage Ban

On the heels of last week's Ninth Circuit decision striking down Nevada and Idaho's gay marriage bans, Lambda Legal has filed for summary judgment on behalf of Nelda Majors, Karen Bailey and other couples in a case challenging Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jennifer C. Pizer:

Karen Bailey and Nelda MajorsNelda and Karen [pictured] have been waiting since the Eisenhower Administration; the time is now. None of these loving and committed couples should have to wait even one day longer for the equal treatment that the Constitution promises. The indelible writing is on the wall, both with the 9th Circuit ruling and last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to review circuit court rulings out of the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits striking down similar bans in five states nationwide. Equality plus liberty add up to marriage for same-sex couples here in Arizona, too.

The federal judge in question, U.S. District Judge John Sedwick, last month ordered Arizona to recognize the marriage of a gay man who lost his spouse to cancer last month and was subsequently denied death benefits because of the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Read the filing below:


AZ Secretary of State Candidate Blasts Opponent's Vote For Anti-gay Religious Discrimination Bill in New Ad: WATCH

Az ad

Terry Goddard, the Democratic Secretary of State candidate in Arizona, has a new ad out blasting his opponent state Sen. Michele Reagan on her vote earlier this year for the controversial bill that would have allowed religious-based discrimination against LGBT citizens (the bill was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer). 

The ad, titled "Fairness," tells the story of Melanie Puskar-Blakely and Tonya Blakely and how their family would have been treated as second class citizens if Reagan had had it her way.  

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Arizona Professional Distance Runner Matt Llano Comes Out as Gay: VIDEO

Llano

Matt Llano, a professional distance runner in Flagstaff, Arizona has opened up about being gay in a new video for his team - Northern Arizona Elite.

In the video, Llano chronicles his early fears about being "different," his coming out to his parents (who are hugely supportive), and the reaction he's received from other runners and athletes who have been inspired by his openness. 

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Outsports adds "Llano ran for the University of Richmond in college, where he was an All-American in cross-country. In 2012 he finished 10th in the U.S. 15k championship; In 2014 he finished fifth in the U.S. half-marathon championship."

Llano2

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Arizona Christian Group Says Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead To Less Heterosexual Marriages - VIDEO

 Fred McQuire and his partner of 45 years George Martinez

(Fred McQuire [Left] and George Martinez)

Attorneys for a Christian group representing Arizona have told a federal judge that if same-sex marriage becomes legal in the state, fewer heterosexual couples will be interested in tying the knot, reports KNAU.

Earlier this month, Judge John Sedwick ruled that the state must recognize the California marriage of Fred McQuire and his partner of 45 years George Martinez, who died in August of pancreatic cancer. That ruling allowed McQuire to list himself as spouse on Martinez's death certificate.

Sedwick said the state's argument that Arizona's marriage law doesn't discriminate is without merit because McQuire and Martinez “may not marry...precisely because of their sexual orientation.”

The Christian-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) believes that the legalization of same-sex marriage would send the message that marriage exists “primarily for the state to approve romantic bonds, rather than...sexual conduct of the type that creates children.”

According to attorneys for ADF, once the link between marriage and procreation is broken, heterosexual couples would not feel the need to wed.

However, attorney Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, said “here is zero indication that [same-sex marriage] is having any adverse effect whatsoever on whether heterosexual couples choose to marry or not marry, or how they raise their children, or otherwise participate in society.”

Watch a report on the McQuire/Martinez ruling, AFTER THE JUMP...

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